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2022—Selene V., incident manager at Microsoft

How Selene V. upgraded her tech career from wires and landlines to cloud services and custom digital tools.

Senior airman Selene V. spent 8 years talking airmen through broken electronics, software errors, and old-school phone lines as computer technician in the U.S. Air Force. Here’s how her generalist approach to IT is helping her carve her niche in big tech.

Describe the impact you have on customers, the organization, or the tech industry.

I’ve been an Incident Manager for a year, supporting federal agencies as a member of the Microsoft Federal team. We troubleshoot customer engineering issues with Microsoft 365, Azure, and cloud server-based technologies. We also support customers with their on-premise servers. I ensure that reactive cases are communicated to the specific engineer or engineering team with expertise in the technical concern they’re experiencing. In critical situations, I’ll also run interference between the customer engineer and the Microsoft engineer, to make sure that engineers with the right experience are on the issue and communications are clear.

I’m also part of the Tools SME (subject matter expert) team, where I support colleagues that need assistance to solve a problem. We also test new tool features to ensure they’re a good fit for the team’s needs before they’re implemented.

Where do you drive impact in your work? Have you been part of any memorable projects?

As an incident manager, every hour needs to be tracked for each customer, by the minute. When I joined the team I noticed that people were using their own systems to track their time. I started developing a personal tracker for case management and billable time tracking, that allows us to track and collate timers for multiple customers in a single dashboard.

It started as a simple solution for my own tracking, but after several layers of added functionalities, the final version is fairly sophisticated. My team beta-tested it for six months, then presented it to the Federal incident manager team, where it’s been adopted as a best practice.

What are you inspired to do next?

In the 150+ hours it took to create the time tracker, I realized how much joy I get from developing custom tools and solutions that make peoples’ work easier. I’d love to do more engineering work in the future, particularly with Microsoft Purview.  

How did MSSA get your boot in the door for these opportunities?

MSSA taught us about Microsoft 365 and Azure, and the different technologies within Microsoft. These didn’t get me the job, but the experience supports me in my current role at Microsoft. We spent time working in Microsoft PowerApps, but when I started my MSSA focus project in Microsoft Purview, I shifted focus to becoming a Purview engineer.

Do you have advice or key learnings to share with transitioning service members?

When it comes to planning your career path, it’s tough to determine the specific technology or career path to pursue, because there’s such a wide range of technologies and skills within the IT industry.

Try and learn a little bit about as many technologies as you can, so you can get clarity on your interests and what you’re passionate about. When you’re focused on the pursuit of knowledge, even dead-end roads are useful. For example, my foray into PowerApps—I thought I was interested in it, but it turns out I’m not. The knowledge encouraged my interest in Purview—and even though it’s not a path I want to pursue further, the knowledge I got into PowerApps actually helps me in my role today.